February 10, 2016 (Toronto, ON) – Insurers continue to see false vehicle theft reports that tie up public resources, that could otherwise be responding to other legitimate and serious matters. These fraudulent reports also represent a significant financial risk to insurance consumers. Aviva Canada, one of the country’s leading providers of home, auto, leisure/lifestyle and business insurance, is committed to tracking and preventing fraudulent claims.
Fraud over $5,000 charge in false vehicle theft case
On July 21, 2014, Andy James reported to the Toronto Police Service that his 2006 Chevrolet Avalanche, insured by Aviva Canada, had been stolen from a parking lot in Etobicoke, Ontario. That same day, he made a claim to Aviva Canada for the loss of his vehicle.
Aviva Canada’s investigation into Mr. James’ claim determined that approximately one month prior to reporting the theft, Mr. James sold the vehicle to a buyer in Scarborough, Ontario. Aviva Canada denied Mr. James’ claim and reported the findings of the investigation to Toronto Police.
Mr. James turned himself in to police on December 21, 2015, after being contacted by detectives at 41 Division regarding the matter. At that time, police charged him with Fraud Over $5,000 and Public Mischief. Mr. James will appear before a Toronto court on March 1, 2016.
Fictitious ATV theft results in guilty plea
On September 5, 2013, Steve Thibault obtained a property policy with Aviva Canada. 19 days later, Mr. Thibault reported to la Sûreté du Québec and Aviva Canada that his All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) had been stolen from his garage while he was at home in L’Épiphanie, Québec.
Mr. Thibault’s claim subsequently became the subject of an Aviva Canada investigation. Evidence revealed that Mr. Thibault had obtained the property policy the day after his ATV had been stolen, and that he had misrepresented the date and circumstances of the theft to both Aviva Canada and la Sûreté du Québec. Aviva Canada denied Mr. Thibault’s $9,000 claim and voided his property policy.
On January 28, 2016, Mr. Thibault attended Joliette Courthouse and pleaded guilty to charges of Attempt Fraud over $5,000.
“We have a duty to report to police any instance of criminal responsibility uncovered during the course of an investigation,” said Sarah Zimmerman, Senior Vice President Automobile & Property Claims at Aviva Canada. “We will not let our honest policyholders pay for the fraud committed by a small minority. We are grateful to the Toronto Police Service and la Sûreté du Québec for taking action on this matter, and helping us send a clear message that fraud is a criminal offence that will not be tolerated.”
Aviva Canada has stepped up its tough approach to tackling fraud with more dedicated resources and a deeper investment in ‘state of the art’ fraud detection technology. This combined with deep public sector and industry collaboration, positions Aviva to combat fraud better than ever before. The impact of Insurance fraud in Canada is estimated at over $1.6 billion dollars annually.
What can you do to help protect affordable insurance premiums for all Canadians? Report potential fraud to Aviva Canada’s Fraud Information Centre — open 24/7. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call their hotline at 1 855 332 5255.
About Aviva Canada
Aviva Canada is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in Canada providing home, auto and business insurance to more than three million customers. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc and has more than 3,000 employees, 25 locations and approximately 1,500 independent broker partners.
Aviva Canada invests in positive change through the Aviva Community Fund, Canada’s longest running online community funding competition. Since its inception in 2009, the Aviva Community Fund has awarded $6.5 million to over 222 charities and community groups nationwide.
Senior Manager, Public Relations & Social Media
Desk: 416-288-2685 Mobile: 416-523-3255